Mental health charity Mind, reports that each year approximately one in four people experience mental health issues. There’s a high chance that you, a friend, or a loved one have struggled in some way.Although medication is one of the most popular forms of treatment for mental health issues, research suggests that spending time in nature can also be beneficial. Whether you are walking, running or digging up garden weeds, any type of physical activity can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin (aka the happy chemicals) in your body. Spending time outdoors has a real positive impact on my physical and mental health. Whether I’m out running or my new favourite past time of hiking in the hills. It is a time for reflection and an escape from everyday life’s stresses. What’s more, according to recent ASICS research just 15:09 minutes of movement can have a positive impact on your mind and uplift your mood.
Walk and talk
Winfield’s Outdoors is encouraging people to get outside and embrace the benefits of the great outdoors for our mental wellbeing. Their ‘Walk and talk’ campaign promotes outdoor activity as a way of restoring positivity. Mental health is extremely important and simple steps such as taking a walk outside can help focus your mind and release endorphins. Even better, getting outdoors with friends or family really embodies the Walk & Talk ethos.
Here’s a few things that have helped me stay more positive whilst enjoying time outdoors. I hope they might inspire you to do the same.
- Slow down: Enjoy the experience instead of rushing. Take all the time you need. Stop to take photos and enjoy the scenery. Notice how your surroundings change as the seasons do. I’ve recently started to take the camera with me on long walks, it’s a great reason to stop for a breather whilst trying to get some decent shots.
- Immerse yourself in your surroundings: Time outdoors is a full sensory experience so leave those headphones at home. Listen to the birds and the sound of stones crunching underfoot. Admire the blue sky and the fluffy clouds and the wildlife. Smell the fresh grass, the flowers and feel the wind blowing on your face. I’m even one of those people that likes going out in the rain. Everything just feels so fresh.
- Just breathe – and enjoy the view: Climbing to a summit with a breath-taking view gives me a huge sense of achievement. It can also help put any small worries into perspective. Personally I like to sit and have a coffee and Percy Pigs at the summit – a tasty reward for making it to the top. This allows me time to take in the views (especially on a clear day) and fuels me up for the trek back down!
If you are going through a hard time or suspect someone you love isn’t quite themselves – please reach out and talk.
Here are a few helplines or resources that may be of help: CLIC: A free online community to support everyone with their mental health https://clic-uk.org Samaritans: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) samaritans.org.uk Mental Health UK: https://mentalhealth-uk.org MIND: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri9am-6pm) mind.org.uk